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The Caine Mutiny

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,982 Ratings  ·  628 Reviews
Upon its original publication in 1951, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was immediately embraced as one of the first serious works of fiction to help readers grapple with the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half-century, Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining story of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater has achi ...more
Hardcover, 498 pages
Published 1951 by Doubleday
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Bob H The movie was a fragment of the book. Good performances by Bogart as Queeg, Jose Ferrer as Greenwald the naval attorney, and Fred MacMurray as the…moreThe movie was a fragment of the book. Good performances by Bogart as Queeg, Jose Ferrer as Greenwald the naval attorney, and Fred MacMurray as the weaselly Keefer, but the story is cut short and the ending is too pat. Also, if you mean by "coming of age," Willie's growth through the book, as a man and officer, that's almost completely out. It's OK as cinema if you take it as a separate story.(less)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 31, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is conceivable that most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate becomes necessary, either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list; but such action shall never be taken without the approval of the Navy Department or other appropriate higher authority, except when reference to such higher authority is undoubtedly impracticable because of the delay involved or for other clearly obvious reason...

Herman Wouk
A great classic tale at sea set during World War II!

5 shining stars! Herman Wouk won the Pulitzer Prize for this masterpiece in 1952 and it is a wonderful story!

I first read and loved this as a high school sophomore and really enjoyed revisiting it! It was even better the second time around! Don't be intimidated by the military setting as there are so many elements to enjoy about the story even if war or the navy is not your thing.

Why I liked it:

1) Brilliant and well-developed characters
* Will
Tuco Markham
Aug 13, 2011 Tuco Markham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Pulitzer Prize winning fiction novel. Why?? It is set in World War II and it just tells a story, no deep intellectual meaning, no homosexual subtext, no infidelity, no sex, no profanity for profanity's sake, etc. etc. Just a good story and in the end you don't know who you want to "root" for.
Sep 22, 2008 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
Top Ten Reasons to Give The Caine Mutiny a Chance

10. Wouk's clear, compelling, Pulitzer Prize winning prose.

9. The boredom of military service, even in wartime, has never been so interesting.

8. The USS Caine DMS feels like home -- no matter who's in command.

7. The ineluctable build of Queeg's collapse.

6. Willie's slow and certain becoming.

5. Keefer's behaviour insuring that no side is "right."

4. The best novelized military trial ever written.

3. The complexity of Wouk's characters, even when the
Jeff Miller
Jun 20, 2013 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow just wow.

First time I have read this one, although have seen the movie oh so many times. This review assumes you have seen the movie, if not don't read ahead.

The film version is brilliant and certainly captures some aspects of the book. The film and the book both have the sucker-punch involving involving the speech by the lawyer Greenwald after most of the book deals with the crew and the infamous Captain Queeg.

The novel though has a different narrative through the eyes of "Willie" Keith. An
An all time favorite book of mine anyway, The Caine Mutiny holds even more personal significance for me because I saw the play performed in London over twenty years ago when I was still dating my husband. Charlton Heston starred as the enigmatic Queeg and I just learned that this production is written up on Wikipedia. Although sometimes maligned for not being reliable, in this case Bear and I can attest to the reliability of at least that much of the article.*

The Caine Mutiny is a fascinating l
Natylie Baldwin
Jan 23, 2014 Natylie Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't until I got about 2/3 of the way through that I realized this was a 5-star book.

The book has its flaws: there is some extraneous material in the first half that could have been cut down, there are a few instances of an awkward secondary character point of view, and there is a generous sprinkling of those pesky adverbs that everyone seems to equate with literary leprosy these days.

But the events immediately preceding the mutiny, the actual mutiny itself and the subsequent court martia
I put off reviewing this book for way too long because I wanted to do it justice. Now it's been months since I finished it, and so my review will be lacking accordingly. But, I can say without reservation that I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it immenseley, and it met the three criteria for a 5-star book: It entertained me, it made me think, and it made me feel.
I decided to read this book because it was lodged somewhere in my mind as one of those "books you should read." Also, there is a
May 31, 2015 Alondra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with a pulse
Shelves: books-i-own
5 Stars

I knew this would be a 5-Star read, for me, within the first 50 pages. Something about an author who knows how to tell a story, and not just write one. Feel me??

The story is a masterpiece, pure and simple.

According to the book blurb: "...Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater..."

To me, it really is the story of our main character's brief stint in the Navy, his complicated relationships with his parents an
Czarny Pies
Mar 20, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone looking for a defense of middle-class wasp values
Recommended to Czarny by: Jim Amm, My Track Coach who believed in keeping a cool head in a storm
This novel is the great American classic of the Post War Years describing the trials that an American K must go through in order to "enter the law" or to conform to the expectations of mainstream society. Despite being a devout Jew, Herman Wouk decides to make his hero Joseph K a classic American Wasp. Willis (Willie) Seward Keith must learn to abandon his irresponsible youth, learn how to choose companions wisely, accept responsibility and provide leadership. As Willie spends most of the war se ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
In many ways this is a difficult book, at least to categorize and/or rate. It was also a difficult read for me at times, by turns absorbing, slightly boring, almost exciting, very infuriating, frustrating and thought provoking.

I suppose most will know at least the outline of the story here as it's not only a novel, but a play and a movie. I'll still try to avoid spoilers here for those who haven't run across it in any form. Let me say that the book doesn't fall easily into one category. It's a
Feb 02, 2014 Jeanmarie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books in which you, yourself, live for as long as it takes to read the whole book. Wouk's forthright manner is detailed, but not verbose. His sense of humor is subtle and wry. There is a believable balance of the mental and the emotional in the narrative and the story feels complete when the book ends.
Oct 05, 2015 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting such a very enjoyable read! Vivid characterization, plenty of funny moments, palpable tension, realistic detail (without technobabble)... Also enjoyable was the lack of unnecessary content- no graphic sex, very limited and mild swearing (there's plenty of "he swore," of course, this being a maritime story), no attempt to put a modern "spin" on things. Nor did the author feel it necessary to make his audience miserable by the end of the book, either by using a jaded "life's hel ...more
Daniel Villines
Apr 22, 2012 Daniel Villines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much like the main character of The Caine Mutiny, Willis Keith, I served in the Navy as a reservist on active duty during our first conflict with Iraq and observed (and experienced) many of the eccentric, illogical, and wasteful processes employed by the Navy. As with the crew of the USS Caine, I recall a few endless pre-dawn mornings where we were instructed to move at full speed from one place to the next only to spend the rest of the day waiting for our next set of instructions. I also served ...more
Jayne Charles
Jul 25, 2011 Jayne Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was in the school library at the age of 14 and about to borrow an Enid Blyton (at the age of 14! The shame of it!!) when my English teacher Mrs Straughan saw me, tut-tutted loudly and gave me this book instead. I was horrified. Some piece of historical fiction about some Americans in the Navy in World War II. So far out of my comfort zone it might as well have been on Mars. 'You'll really enjoy it', Mrs Straughan assured me. And she was right. Not only did I enjoy it the first time, I enjoyed ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story took place during World War II and told the story of the mine sweeper The Caine and its crew. I had to constantly remind myself that the book was fiction. Never once lost interest in the story. Very good book that I would recommend to all.
Sarah Anne
4.5 rounded up this time. I was wondering when I started this how you can possibly get 500+ pages/26+ listening hours out of a mutiny. It seems like that's an event rather than a lengthy story. It turns out that it's not entirely about the mutiny. That's sort of a moment in time where the character's fates intertwine, otherwise it's a story about what it's like to be on a ship in the Navy in war time.

The book starts out with young, naïve, slight spoiled Willie Keith getting drafted into the Army
May 15, 2015 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somehow, almost inexplicably, this has become one of my favorite books of all time. That, to me, is a strange honor to bestow upon a book that, on it's face, isn't really about anything. As far as World War II naval adventures go, the Caine saw little meaningful action and the war is merely a minor context to what is, really, not a war novel. Wouk's prose is as a sharp as a knife, and each sentence is a joy to read. His characters are easily identifiable, quintessentially human, and unrepentingl ...more
May 03, 2013 Nilesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-fiction
There are many remarkable things about the book, but the best for me is the authors' ability to hide where his true sympathies lie. More than the grandiose court scene and sharp lawyer/witness repartees that permanently shaped the Hollywood, the mostly eventless but still dangerously combating naval life during the wartime, the phenomenally crazy yellow stain/strawberry/shirt tail episodes and powerful characters, the author walks away with glory in twisting the right and wrong of the mutiny in ...more
Carmel Bell
The Caine Mutiny was one of the funniest, most inspiring books I have read. It illustrated beautifully how a person with a different way of thinking could overcome even the most intense madness of their environment. The spiritual aspect of the journey through storms and hardship touched me and often comes to mind when I am facing a similar journey.
Krisette Spangler
This was one of the most fascinating coming of age stories I've ever read. Willie Keith joins the Navy, before he can be drafted into the army during WWII. He is assigned to a mine sweeper called the Caine. Captain Queeg seems like a great captain at first, but the crew starts to suspect he might be mentally ill. Should the crew seize the ship and risk hanging for mutiny? I loved it.

The only problem with the book is the language. The language for half of the book is completely clean, but while t
Anna Gabur
Jul 15, 2016 Anna Gabur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
One more book on my favorites list. I don't even know what review can do it justice, because this brilliant novel has everything: character, suspense, love, action, philosophy. It really put many things into perspective for me. The stunning mastery of prose and character development deserve all the praise. The Caine Mutiny is not exactly a war novel. It is a comming of age story with all the good implications. Absolutely gorgeous!
Seth Hanson
Feb 25, 2016 Seth Hanson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Caine Mutiny is a historical fiction novel set in World War II. It follows the lives of several young sailors as they enter the Navy's midshipman academy. The main character, Willie Keith, enters the academy to escape the war when he is drafted into the army. After going through the academy, he and his friends are put onto the old ship, the Caine. Around that time a new commander, Captain Queeg, whose orders and competence are questioned by the crew, until, during a storm, the commander make ...more
Dec 02, 2008 Sonny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book surprised me! I was not expecting anything from it, and have heard about it for years on end, but Wouk's description of the petty tyrant, the good soul, the sympathetic commander are all classic themes and thrown in with a twist. This is not so much a war novel as it is a tale of humor and human breakdowns. I have never seen the movie, but as I understand it is a classic, I now am inclined to do so.
Oct 05, 2014 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was much better than I had anticipated though I don't know why I say that. The prose is workmanlike and, of course, it's too long, but there is real power here, and Captain Queeg, is an amazing creation, Nixonian before Nixon.
Mar 03, 2015 Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
Just finished reading for thr 3rd time. Previusly read in 2007 and sometime in the 90s. It's one of the best books written about the paranoid mind.
PULITZER WORTHY 100%! I enjoyed this book overall. Willy's evolution of character was terrific & I appreciated the glimpse of navy life courtesy of the author. Given that he is Jewish, I found his inclusion of the Jewish attorney interesting, along with his drunken soliloquy. Today I don't think anyone would care if someone is Jewish or not or Catholic or whatever to the extent they did back then, but back then it was a very big deal--just ask Hitler. So I find it interesting that ethnicity ...more
Bob H
May 01, 2016 Bob H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves all the superlatives it has garnered over the years, and rightfully stands as a classic. Those who like sea stories will find an authentic story about men and ships here; young readers will identify with the bumbling midshipman Willie Keith, who grows with the story. The court-martial sequence is classic courtroom drama, and at least one Army manual on "Leadership" recommended this book as a cautionary tale about military command. Everything rings true: a weak captain on a tir ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulizer-fiction
I don't consider myself to be a fan of war stories, so I was anticipating not enjoying this much, and really dreading the over 500 pages. Fortunately this was one of those books that is so well written that you fall into the story after the first few pages, and find that you are more comfortable there then out in the 'real world'. I was delighted when I found myself not only surprised when I looked up from book while reading int the park and was not only slightly startled to realize that it was ...more
Julie Davis
A Good Story is Hard to Find #112. Julie and Scott have a lot of very important things to do, but instead of doing those things, they are going to find out who ate the strawberries. They are absolutely sure that one of you people has a key to the refrigerator.


This is a book I dread to pick up because I know that Captain Queeg is going to do something so outrageous that I'm going to hate reading about it and the consequences to the innocent. And yet, when I do pick it up I can
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Herman Wouk is a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned
More about Herman Wouk...

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“This life is slow suicide, unless you read.” 34 likes
“The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you are not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one. All the shortcuts and economies and common-sense changes that your native intelligence suggests to you are mistakes. Learn to quash them. Constantly ask yourself, "How would I do this if I were a fool?" Throttle down your mind to a crawl. Then you will never go wrong.” 14 likes
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